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Ayodhya Judge Preferred Out-Of-Court Settlement

Lucknow: One of the three judges in the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on Monday disagreed with the majority order rejecting the plea for deferring the Ayodhya verdict to allow mediation and wrote
PTI September 20, 2010 22:52 IST
PTI
Lucknow: One of the three judges in the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on Monday disagreed with the majority order rejecting the plea for deferring the Ayodhya verdict to allow mediation and wrote a dissenting note saying an amicable settlement could have been explored.

Justice Dharam Veer Sharma while not concurring with the view of the other two judges - Justice S U Khan and Justice Sudhir Agarwal -also said in his dissent note he wasn't consulted when the three-judge bench gave the order while dismissing the plea for mediation.A plea to defer the verdict on the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit was rejected by the High Court last Friday.

This meant that the keenly awaited judgement in the 60-year case will be pronounced on September 24.

Favouring the option of exploring mediation or an out-of-court settlement, Justice Sharma said looking to the application for deferment from all and any angle the only direction required to be given is that parties are free to resolve their dispute amicably by compromise before the date of delivery of the judgement and at this stage no interference of the court is required.

"The application is disposed off accordingly," he said. The application by Ramesh Chandra Tripathi was moved under section 89 CPC.

"I am sorry to state that at the time of the passing of the order I was not consulted, otherwise, I would have given my views to honourable brother judges," Justice Sharma said in his eight-page order.

While disagreeing with his two co-judges on a related issue, Justice Sharma also said that Tripathi was not required to pay costs of Rs 50,000. The two judges had slapped this amount as "exemplary costs" after terming his effort for an out-of-court settlement as a "mischievous attempt."

The majority order while dimissing the application said it was aimed at "creating obstruction" in the final disposal of the matter.

"Defendant number 17 (Tripathi) is not required to pay costs for Rs 50,000," Justice Sharma said in his order.

He said the Rs 50,000 costs imposed in the present case was beyond statutory limit-- that is Rs 3,000.

The judge said the court cannot impose the costs against the provision of the law that is section 35-A CPC.

"I respectfully disagree with the views taken by my two brother judges. There is no provision under the law through which a penalty of Rs 50,000 can be imposed for moving the application to relegate the matter for mediation under section 89 CPC," he said.

Justice Sharma said that according to section 35-A CPC the imposition of penalty cannot exceed Rs 3,000.